RPI Requirements for Admission

What are RPI's admission requirements? While there are a lot of pieces that go into a college application, you should focus on only a few critical things:

  • GPA requirements
  • Testing requirements, including SAT and ACT requirements
  • Application requirements

In this guide we'll cover what you need to get into RPI and build a strong application.

School location: Troy, NY

This school is also known as: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


Admissions Rate: 42%

If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.

The acceptance rate at RPI is 42%. For every 100 applicants, 42 are admitted.

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This means the school is moderately selective. The school expects you to meet their requirements for GPA and SAT/ACT scores, but they're more flexible than other schools. If you exceed their requirements, you have an excellent chance of getting in. But if you don't, you might be one of the unlucky minority that gets a rejection letter.


RPI GPA Requirements

Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.

The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school's average GPA for its current students.

Average GPA: 3.87

The average GPA at RPI is 3.87.

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(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.

With a GPA of 3.87, RPI requires you to be near the top of your class, and well above average. Your transcript should show mostly A's. Ideally, you will also have taken several AP or IB classes to show that you can handle academics at a college level.

If you're currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 3.87, you'll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate. This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.


SAT and ACT Requirements

Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.

You must take either the SAT or ACT to submit an application to RPI. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application.

RPI SAT Requirements

Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school's average score.

Average SAT: 1376 (New: 1420)

The average SAT score composite at RPI is a 1376 on the old 2400 SAT scale.

On the new 1600 SAT, this corresponds to an average SAT score of 1420.

This score makes RPI Competitive for SAT test scores.

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RPI SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)

The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1360, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1540. In other words, a 1360 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1540 will move you up to above average.

Here's the breakdown of new SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math740700780
Reading353338
Composite142013601540

RPI SAT Score Analysis (Old 2400 SAT)

The 25th percentile Old SAT score is 1280, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 1490. In other words, a 1280 on the Old SAT places you below average, while a 1490 puts you well above average.

Here's the breakdown of old SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math716670770
Reading660610720
Composite137612801490

SAT Score Choice Policy

The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.

RPI has the Score Choice policy of "Highest Section."

This is also known as "superscoring." This means that you can choose which SAT tests you want to send to the school. Of all the scores they receive, your application readers will consider your highest section scores across all SAT test dates you submit.

Click below to learn more about how superscoring critically affects your test strategy.

How does superscoring change your test strategy? (Click to Learn)

For example, say you submit the following 3 test scores:

Section Reading Math Writing Composite
Test 1 700 300 300 1300
Test 2 300 700 300 1300
Test 3 300 300 700 1300
Superscore 700 700 700 2100

Even though the highest total you scored on any one test date was 1300, RPI will take your highest section score from all your test dates, then combine them to form your Superscore. You can raise your composite score from 1300 to 2100 in this example.

This is important for your testing strategy. Because you can choose which tests to send in, and RPI forms your Superscore, you can take the SAT as many times as you want, then submit only the tests that give you the highest Superscore. Your application readers will only see that one score.

Therefore, if your SAT superscore is currently below a 1376, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the SAT and retaking it. You have a very good chance of raising your score, which will significantly boost your chances of getting in.

Even better, because of the Superscore, you can focus all your energy on a single section at a time. If your Reading score is lower than your other sections, prep only for the Reading section, then take the SAT. Then focus on Math for the next test, and so on. This will surely give you the highest Superscore possible.


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RPI ACT Requirements

Just like for the SAT, RPI likely doesn't have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.

Average ACT: 30

The average ACT score at RPI is 30. This score makes RPI Strongly Competitive for ACT scores.

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The 25th percentile ACT score is 28, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 32.

Even though RPI likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 28 or below, you'll have a very hard time getting in, unless you have something else very impressive in your application. There are so many applicants scoring 30 and above that a 28 will look academically weak.

ACT Score Sending Policy

If you're taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy.

Here it is: when you send ACT scores to colleges, you have absolute control over which tests you send. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.

This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school's ACT requirement of 30 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can. When you have the final score that you're happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.

ACT Superscore Policy

By and large, most colleges do not superscore the ACT. (Superscore means that the school takes your best section scores from all the test dates you submit, and then combines them into the best possible composite score). Thus, most schools will just take your highest ACT score from a single sitting.

We weren't able to find the school's exact ACT policy, which most likely means that it does not Superscore. Regardless, you can choose your single best ACT score to send in to RPI, so you should prep until you reach our recommended target ACT score of 30.


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SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements

Both the SAT and ACT have a Writing section that includes an essay.

RPI requires you to take the SAT/ACT Writing section. They'll use this as another factor in their admissions consideration.


SAT Subject Test Requirements

Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.

RPI has indicated that SAT subject tests are required for SOME applicants. Typically this means that applying to certain majors or colleges within the school requires SAT subject tests, and others don't. Read further to see if you'll need to submit SAT subject scores.

Typically, your SAT/ACT and GPA are far more heavily weighed than your SAT Subject Tests. If you have the choice between improving your SAT/ACT score or your SAT Subject Test scores, definitely choose to improve your SAT/ACT score.



Final Admissions Verdict

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Because this school is moderately selective, strong academic performance will almost guarantee you admission. Scoring a 1490 SAT or a 32 ACT or above will nearly guarantee you admission. Because the school admits 42% of all applicants, being far above average raises the admission rate for you to nearly 100%.

If you can achieve a high SAT/ACT score, the rest of your application essentially doesn't matter. You still need to meet the rest of the application requirements, and your GPA shouldn't be too far off from the school average of 3.87. But you won't need dazzling extracurriculars and breathtaking letters of recommendation to get in. You can get in based on the merits of your score alone.

But if your score is a 1280 SAT or a 28 ACT and below, you have a good chance of being one of the unlucky few to be rejected.



Admissions Calculator

What are your chances of admission at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute?
Chances of admission with these scores:

Here's our custom admissions calculator. Plug in your numbers to see what your chances of getting in are.

Pick your test: Old SAT New SAT ACT

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Note: This is only an estimate for the average student, based on data collected from thousands of students. Other factors in your application may come into play, such as extracurriculars and recommendation letters.

How would your chances improve with a better score?

Try to take your current SAT score and add 160 points (or take your ACT score and add 4 points) to the calculator above. See how much your chances improve?

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Application Requirements

Every school requires an application with the bare essentials - high school transcript and GPA, application form, and other core information. Many schools, as explained above, also require SAT and ACT scores, as well as letters of recommendation, application essays, and interviews. We'll cover the exact requirements of RPI here.

Application Requirements Overview

  • Common Application Accepted, supplemental forms required
  • Universal Application Accepted, supplemental forms required
  • Electronic Application Available
  • Essay or Personal Statement Required for some freshmen
  • Letters of Recommendation 1
  • Interview Not required
  • Application Fee $70
  • Fee Waiver Available? Available
  • Other Notes Portfolio for electronic arts recommended for some freshmen

Testing Requirements

  • SAT or ACT Required
  • SAT or ACT Writing Required
  • SAT Subject Tests Required for some
  • Scores Due in Office December 31

Coursework Requirements

  • Subject Required Years
  • English 4
  • Math 4
  • Science 3
  • Foreign Language
  • Social Studies 2
  • History
  • Electives

Deadlines and Early Admissions

  •  
    • Offered? Deadline Notification
  • Regular Admission
    • Yes January 15 March 12
  • Early Action
    • No
  • Early Decision
    • Yes November 1, December 15 December 12, January 16

Admissions Office Information


Other Schools For You

If you're interested in RPI, you'll probably be interested in these schools as well. We've divided them into 3 categories depending on how hard they are to get into, relative to RPI.





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